The Only Way is Wessex: Thomas Hardy’s Cultural Impressions

By Daniel Mercieca, Gale Ambassador at Durham University
Daniel Mercieca is an English Literature finalist, and President of both the English Literature Society and Bede Film Society at Durham University. His main research interests are Film Aesthetics and Screen Adaptation, with further interests in twentieth-century poetry and Romantic poetry. Dan enjoys the independence of thought, interdisciplinary and experimental aspects of studying English and aims to achieve a Master’s in Film and/or Literature. Dan enjoys lyricism and landscapes in the works of Thomas Hardy, Virginia Woolf, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Charlotte Smith and Toni Morrison. His favourite directors include Alfred Hitchcock, Darren Aronofsky, Martin Scorsese and Christopher Nolan for their suspense, soundtracks and cinematography. If he is not reading books or watching films then he is probably writing, running or trying something new.

“She was not an existence, an experience, a passion, a structure of sensations, to anybody but herself. To all humankind besides Tess was only a passing thought. Even to friends she was no more than a frequently passing thought.” [i]

The well-trodden Dorsetshire heathlands, bustling rustic communities and evanescent ghosts from Thomas Hardy’s folkloric world, Wessex, continue to impress memories of English rural heritage. Hardy’s sensitive capturing of ‘mere impressions of the moment’ in prose and poetry; the cascade of raindrops on a gate, hazy warmth of a barn dance or ghostly silhouette of a horse rider in sea mist, reinvigorates our appreciation of ordinary experience [ii]. This year marks the 90th anniversary of Hardy’s final collection of verse, Winter Words in Various Moods and Meters (1928), whose sombre cadences echo amongst later generations of modern poets and can be found in The Times Historical Archive. The continual resurgence of Hardy’s works in dramatic and televisual adaptations, modern poetry and National Trust Heritage fosters a Wessex mythology which remains vibrant today.

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Rebeldes, pícaros, místicos y rústicos: los irlandeses en las reseñas literarias británicas

Por Paula Maher Martin, Gale Ambassador en la Universidad NUI Galway
Paula Maher Martín estudia su último año de Literatura Inglesa y Clásicas en la National University of Ireland, en Galway. Interesada en el lenguaje como un medio para reflejar y transcender de manera simultánea la experiencia humana, planea realizar investigación de posgrado en Literatura Inglesa, centrada en la construcción metafísica de la realidad en la literatura modernista. Disfruta leer a Nancy Mitford, Leo Tolstoy, Evelyn Waugh o Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, del viento, de la música del mundo, de vagar inmersa en abstracciones filosóficas, de escribir poesía en clase y de enamorarse de los personajes de los cuadros.

Lee este blog en inglés aquí

‘Un cuadro plasmado a partir de la vida de un pueblo cuyos días transcurren bajo el cielo en campo abierto’: los contornos lingüísticos de lo que Edith Somerville, al examinar la obra de PW Joyce Inglés como lo hablamos en Irlanda (1909), denomina el dialecto anglo-irlandés, acomodan un microcosmos de Irlanda. Paisaje exuberante y un pueblo embriagado de naturaleza, sentimientos, magia y alcohol.

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Rebels, rogues, mystics and rustics: the Irish in British literary reviews

By Paula Maher Martin, Gale Ambassador at NUI Galway
Paula Maher Martín is a third-year student of English and Classics at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Interested in language as a means of simultaneously reflecting and transcending human experience, she plans to do postgraduate research in English, with a focus on the metaphysical construction of reality in Modernist literature. She enjoys reading Nancy Mitford, Leo Tolstoy, Evelyn Waugh or Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, the wind, the music of the world, wandering immersed in philosophical abstractions, writing poetry in lectures and falling in love with characters in paintings. Paula is blogging for Gale in both English and Spanish.

Read this blog in Spanish here

A picture drawn from the life of a people whose days are spent under the sky in the open country’. These are the linguistic contours with which Edith Somerville, in examining P.W. Joyce’s 1909 work English as We Speak it in Ireland, denominates the Anglo-Irish dialect, and accommodates a microcosm of Ireland – an exuberant landscape and a people intoxicated with nature, feeling, magic and alcohol.

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How can human trafficking be tackled in Britain?

By Tiria Barnes, Gale Student Ambassador at the University of Liverpool
I am currently a third year History student at the University of Liverpool, hoping to graduate with an extensive knowledge of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and good quality banter. When I’m not in the library plugging Gale’s amazing resources, I am usually in a hipster independent coffee shop sipping on a cheeky chai latte. Some of my passions include Jesus, street dance, and charity shops.

Despite slavery being outlawed in the nineteenth century, human trafficking – defined by the Tearfund as ‘the transporting or abduction of people for the purposes of exploitation, using coercion, fraud or deception’[1] – is still a prevalent problem in our world today. In 2015, it was estimated that the trafficking industry was worth 32 billion US dollars a year, which is equivalent to the GDP of Tanzania[2]. As the fastest growing business in the world, it has been suggested that every 30 seconds a child is trafficked[3]. I decided that it would be interesting to investigate human trafficking on a more local scale, and see how newspapers reported on Britain’s response to the problem. Using Gale Primary Sources, I was able to make some thought-provoking discoveries.

Read moreHow can human trafficking be tackled in Britain?

‘The Very Latest Craze’ Slumming Parties in the Late-Nineteenth Century

By Megan Murphy, Gale Ambassador at the University of Liverpool
I’m a third year History student at the University of Liverpool, a Gale Student Ambassador, and a self-proclaimed Jane Austen fanatic. As a modern historian, my main research interests revolve around the development of Victorian cities – particularly the crime and deviance that took place within them. Outside of my studies, in the rare time I spend without my head in a nineteenth-century newspaper, I specialise in binge-watching Louis Theroux documentaries.

During the mid-nineteenth century, slums in the world’s largest metropolises (namely London and New York) became a site of continuous fascination. From Henry Mayhew’s famous ‘Labour and the Poor’ series in The Morning Chronicle, to Jacob Riis’ book length study ‘How the Other Half Live’, social commentators in both Britain and the US were captivating the minds of middle class society with their investigations into the living conditions of the urban poor. Yet what is perhaps most interesting about this fascination is the social phenomenon of ‘slumming parties’ which resulted. This phenomenon was readily reported on within the pages of both the British and US press, which I have been able to investigate through the British Library Newspapers and Nineteenth Century US Newspapers archives inside of Gale Primary Sources.

Read more‘The Very Latest Craze’ Slumming Parties in the Late-Nineteenth Century

Alemania Nazi, Antigua Roma: la apropiación de la cultura clásica para la formulación de la identidad nacional

Por Paula Maher Martin, Gale Ambassador en la Universidad NUI Galway
Paula Maher Martín estudia su último año de Literatura Inglesa y Clásicas en la National University of Ireland, en Galway. Interesada en el lenguaje como un medio para reflejar y transcender de manera simultánea la experiencia humana, planea realizar investigación de posgrado en Literatura Inglesa, centrada en la construcción metafísica de la realidad en la literatura modernista. Disfruta leer a Nancy Mitford, Leo Tolstoy, Evelyn Waugh o Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, del viento, de la música del mundo, de vagar inmersa en abstracciones filosóficas, de escribir poesía en clase y de enamorarse de los personajes de los cuadros.

Para leer esta publicación de blog en inglés, haga clic aquí.

Germania, una descripción aparentemente inofensiva de los territorios, costumbres y tribus de los germanos por el historiador romano del siglo I Cornelio Tácito, fue ensalzada por los alemanes nazis como un estandarte: un retrato del ario primitivo; virtuoso, intrépido y fuertemente militarizado, cualidades que habían reverberado a lo largo de los siglos y que sustentaban la identidad racial del alemán moderno.

Read moreAlemania Nazi, Antigua Roma: la apropiación de la cultura clásica para la formulación de la identidad nacional

Nazi Germany, Ancient Rome: The appropriation of classical culture for the formulation of national identity

By Paula Maher Martín, Gale Ambassador at NUI Galway
Paula Maher Martín is a third-year student of English and Classics at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Interested in language as a means of simultaneously reflecting and transcending human experience, she plans to do postgraduate research in English, with a focus on the metaphysical construction of reality in Modernist literature. She enjoys reading Nancy Mitford, Leo Tolstoy, Evelyn Waugh or Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, the wind, the music of the world, wandering immersed in philosophical abstractions, writing poetry in lectures and falling in love with characters in paintings. Paula is blogging for Gale in both English and Spanish.

To read this blog in Spanish, click here.

The Germania, an apparently harmless description of the territories, customs and tribes of the Germani by 1st century Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus, was acclaimed by Nazi Germans as a banner: a portrait of the primitive Aryan; ‘virtuous, fearless and heavily militarized’, qualities the Nazis felt had reverberated through the centuries and supported the racial identity of the modern German.

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On Her Majesty’s’ Secret Service – Elizabeth I in the age of spies

By Rory Herbert, Gale Ambassador at the University of Portsmouth
I am a third year History student and President of the History Society at the University of Portsmouth. I enjoy trying to grapple with the vastness and complexity of this subject, and the challenges it can present. On the rare occasions that I have free time, I can be found playing hockey or researching historical facts and events.

While I’m sure we’re all familiar with the daring tales of English privateers and explorers during the Elizabethan age, there remains a forgotten and crucial element that helped Elizabeth maintain power. Under her reign, and with the significant help of her counsel, Elizabeth helped to cultivate and manage an extensive network of intelligencers, spies and informants that spanned the length and breadth of the continent. And what better way to view these official government communiques than in Gale’s State Papers Online.

Read moreOn Her Majesty’s’ Secret Service – Elizabeth I in the age of spies

Horror and Censorship Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Art of the Cinema’

By Daniel Mercieca, Gale Ambassador at Durham University
Daniel Mercieca is an English Literature finalist, and President of both the English Literature Society and Bede Film Society at Durham University. His main research interests are Film Aesthetics and Screen Adaptation, with further interests in twentieth-century poetry and Romantic poetry. Dan enjoys the independence of thought, interdisciplinary and experimental aspects of studying English and aims to achieve a Master’s in Film and/or Literature. Dan enjoys lyricism and landscapes in the works of Thomas Hardy, Virginia Woolf, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Charlotte Smith and Toni Morrison. His favourite directors include Alfred Hitchcock, Darren Aronofsky, Martin Scorsese and Christopher Nolan for their suspense, soundtracks and cinematography. If he is not reading books or watching films then he is probably writing, running or trying something new.

Since the March 2018 Facebook and Cambridge Analytica controversies, censorship and data protection have come under an intense spotlight in today’s digitised society. While we become increasingly sceptical of surveillance, and cautious of what we post online, it is important to appreciate those who have struggled to be fully seen and heard. The efforts of writers and filmmakers to overcome issues of (in)visibility have consistently featured in my study of literature at university; Elizabeth Gaskell’s serialisation in Charles Dickens’ Household Words magazine, 1850-51 (she was restricted from publishing independently because of her gender), the Brontë sisters’ use of male pseudonyms, and the 1918 posthumous publication of Gerard Manly Hopkins’s poetry due to his Jesuitical vow of obedience, are all examples of nineteenth-century censorship.

Read moreHorror and Censorship Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Art of the Cinema’

‘Sporadic riots’ and ‘false reports’ – British Reporting of the 1929 Igbo Women’s War

By Tom Henderson, Gale Ambassador at Durham University
I am a second-year Durham historian, research scholar and Treasurer of Durham University History Society. I use Gale’s archives to enhance my work and interrogate historiography, as well as browsing for fun in newspapers and advertisements (yes, really). My main interests include intellectual history, religion, feminism and music. In the world outside the library I enjoy choral singing, football, and excessive quantities of tea.

In December 1929, British newspapers reported on ‘sporadic riots’ taking place in the British colony of Nigeria, targeting Warrant Chiefs and Native Courts across several districts. This was the Ogu Umunwaanyi or ‘Women’s War’: a coordinated insurrection of Igbo women against British colonial rule, ignited by a fear of taxation.

Read more‘Sporadic riots’ and ‘false reports’ – British Reporting of the 1929 Igbo Women’s War

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